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Cote d'Ivoire: Torture

, Index number: AFR 31/005/2000

At least 28 soldiers, Chief Sergeant Souleymane DIOMANDE, known as "la Grenade"; Corporal Vada BAMBA; Corporal Ménassa BAMBA; Corporal Finaly BAKOYOKO; Captain Issa SACKO; Sergeant Seydou KONE; Corporal Aboudrahamane ISSA; Corporal Siaka OUATTARA, and at least 20 others, have been arrested and severely tortured after an attack on the private residence of the Head of state, General Robert Gueï on 18 September 2000. At least one is reported to have died as a result of torture.

PUBLIC AI Index: AFR 31/05/00
UA 304/00 Torture
COTE D’IVOIREChief Sergeant Souleymane DIOMANDE, known as “la Grenade”
Corporal Vada BAMBA
Corporal Ménassa BAMBA
Corporal Finaly BAKOYOKO
Captain Issa SACKO
Sergeant Seydou KONE
Corporal Aboudrahamane ISSA
Corporal Siaka OUATTARA
At least 20 others
At least 28 soldiers have been arrested and severely tortured after an attack
on the private residence of the Head of state, General Robert Gueï on 18 September
2000. At least one is reported to have died as a result of torture.
Most, if not all, are from the General’s bodyguard. They were arrested on suspicion
of plotting this attack. The first five soldiers named above were shown on
television after they were arrested, but they have been detained incommunicado
ever since. Their relatives have looked for them in all the military prisons in
Abidjan, but the authorities have refused to give them any information. Some or
all of these five soldiers are reportedly held at the former military camp of
Akuedo, called “La Poudrière”, (“The powder magazine”) where most of the Ivorian
army’s guns and ammunition are held.
The Minister of Security, Lansana Palenfo, who was accused on 26 September of
involvement in the attack, and who is now in hiding, said publicly yesterday on
an international radio station, Radio France Internationale, that all the soldiers
who have been arrested have been tortured, and that he had “information that most
of our guards, those who were taken in for questioning, were killed”.
At least one soldier arrested in connection with the attack is known to have died.
Relatives of SanSan Kampiré found his body in the morgue of the Centre Hospitalier
Universitaire in Treichville, near Abidjan. The people who saw the corpse told
Amnesty International that it was covered in blood, but that they could not see
any bullet wounds.
Other soldiers including Sergeant Seydou Kone, Corporal Aboudrahamane Issa and
Corporal Siaka Outtara have reportedly been severely tortured at a military prison,
the Maison d’Arrêt militaire d’Abidjan (MAMA), where they have been held since
they were arrested early last week.
Other people arrested since the attack on the Head of State’s residence, including
civilians, are being held incommunicado at the gendarmerie in Agban, near Abidjan.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
General Robert Gueï came to power in a military Coup on 24 December 1999. Since
then there have been numerous attacks on human rights, which have threatened the
very foundation of the rule of law.
Groups of soldiers, believing themselves to be above the law, have set up a parallel
system of justice, which has marginalised the legal institutions of justice. They
have killed, sometimes in public, presumed lawbreakers, intimidated and assaulted
lawyers and magistrates, and arrested and ill-treated journalists. Amnesty
International sent a fact-finding mission to Côte d’Ivoire in May 2000, which
met with General Gueï. He did not deny that certain soldiers had committed abuses.
(See Ivory Coast: some military personnel believe they have impunity above the
law (AFR 31/03/00 F), 19 September 2000. )
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send faxes/airmail letters in French, English or your
own language:
- expressing grave concern for the safety of at least 28 soldiers arrested after
the attack on General Robert Gueï’s private residence, who have reportedly been
tortured;
- urging the authorities to immediately stop torturing these people and asking
them to provide them with enough food and water and adequate medical treatment;
- urging the authorities to stop incommunicado detention and allow those detained
to have access to their relatives;
- urging the authorities to open immediately a thorough and independent enquiry
into these allegations of torture, and to carry out an autopsy on Sansan Kampiré,
whose relatives found his corpse in the morgue of the Centre Hospitalier
Universitaire in Treichville, and to bring those responsible to justice.
APPEALS TO:
1) Head of State
Son Excellence
Général Robert Gueï
La Présidence, Boulevard Clozel, Abidjan
Côte d’Ivoire
Faxes: + 225 20 32 90 24
Salutation: Monsieur le Chef de l’Etat / Dear Head of State
2) Minister of Defence
Colonel Honoré Douty
Ministère de la Défense
BP V 11 ABIDJAN
Côte d’Ivoire
Faxes: + 225 20 21 34 25
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre / Dear Minister
3) Minister of Interior
Colonel MOUASSI GRENA
Ministre de l’Intérieur et de la décentralisation
BP.V 121 Abidjan
ABIDJAN
Côte d'Ivoire
Faxes:+ 225 20 32 47 35
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre / Dear Minister
4) Minister Of Justice
Colonel Major Pascal Konan Yao
Garde des Sceaux, Ministre de la Justice
BP V 107 Abidjan
ABIDJAN
Côte d'Ivoire
Faxes:225 20 33 12 59
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre / Dear Minister
COPIES TO:
Minister of External Relations
M. Charles Gomis
Ministre des Relations Extérieures
BP V 109 Abidjan
ABIDJAN
Côte d'Ivoire
Faxes: + 225 20 33 17 96
Chef d'Etat Major des Forces Armées Nationales de Côte d'Ivoire (FANCI)
Général Soumaïla DIABAGATE
Ministère de la Défense
BPV 11 Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire
Directeur Général de la Police Nationale
Colonel Emile Troh GONDOH
BPV 101 Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire
and to diplomatic representatives of Côte d’Ivoire accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or
your section office, if sending appeals after 10 November 2000.

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